Dinner for Three



M. Malcomb Moore

Part One: The Good Doctor

          “It’s not that I don’t want to go, it’s just, I don’t know, seeing her again…I’m not ready for this…Jones and Blandford keep saying, ‘go, go, you’ll be fine, it will be good for you. You are the guest of honor, you know.’ Good for me, bullshit, what do they know?”

          “So, here I am standing in front of my mirror, talking to my damn self, putting on the tux I hate to wear for an honors banquet I don’t want to attend, with people I don’t know, to receive an honor I don’t deserve, and, she’ll be there. Where did I put those studs, anyway?”

          “God, how long has it been, twelve, thirteen years maybe? I wonder what she looks like. If she has half the looks she did in med school, they’ll probably give her the award. Damn, she had great legs…and her…SNAP OUT OF IT, DON! This is crazy…I’m acting like some hormone overdosed college kid. I’ve got to get a grip. Okay, I’ll go, I’ll get the award, I’ll say thank you, I’ll come home, no big deal. Let’s see, wingtips or plain?”

          “They don’t understand. No one could have more excited when Hannah got her job in Seattle…hell, a position at Northwest is a golden ticket for surgeons. I used to send her flowers, throw parties for her, brag about her to all my buds. It was a simple plan, I would finish my residency, move to Seattle, set up my practice, marry her, have our two point three kids and sing the happily ever-after song. Hmm, at least that what she planned.”

          “Okay, clean handkerchief, wallet, hair looks good, fly zipped, tie straight, keys in hand, lights out, 9332 security set and I’m outta here…Here we go gorgeous…I hope Williams is there and sees me drive up in my Nine Eleven. I love to watch him covet.”

          “Good, the rain stopped. Hope the weekend traffic is over…I hate looking at all those people…maybe the radio will have a traffic report…I sure hope that Romero lady pulls through…that was a tough one…never been that deep into someone’s brain before…should get by with minimal paralysis. Mm, nice looking Vette…wow, nice looking fox at the wheel…hope she sees my plates…several more operations like that and I’ll get my name in the AMA Journal…that’s always a good reason to raise my fees.”

          “Oh, this looks nice…valet better not scratch my car. Okay, here we go. ‘Hi, hello, good to see you, John. How’s the wife?’ …as if I cared… ‘Dr. Benson, congratulations on that appointment.’ …’big hairy deal… ‘hi, Betty, Al, you guys look great.’ …gag… ‘fine, thanks, you?’ …who the hell cares.. ‘Is she? Didn’t know that. Maybe I’ll see her.’ …god forbid… ‘Hey, Brian, sorry about the Seahawks, maybe next year.’ …maybe when hell freezes over… ‘Jennifer said she would be, I think so’ …finally my seat. Whew, don’t see her…maybe she didn’t come.

          “Here we go, play with the food…don’t look for her…I wonder what she looks like…I heard she had a kid…ha, there goes the figure…hate being at the head table…it’s so conspicuous…can’t hide…look like I’m having fun, for god’s sake.”

          “Oh good, now we have the speeches…yes, yes, I know I’m wonderful…blah, blah, blah…it’s amazing how wonderful you become when you give two-and-half mil to this place…maybe by next year old man Marsh will kick off and they’ll make me Chief of Staff.”

          “Finally, my turn…where’s my notes? Wait, some announcement…oh yeah, a new head of surgery, I forgot…drum roll…and the winner is…WHAT? NO! NOT HANNAH!”

Part Two: The Proud Daughter

          “Mom looks so beautiful tonight…look at her sitting here at this fancy banquet in that gold sequined dress with that big I-made-it smile all over her face…I wonder why she asked to sit clear in the back…she should smile…she worked so hard…all that schooling and time at the hospital doing her job better than anyone else…even while she was pregnant with me…she’s one great mom, that’s for sure.”

          “Look at all these doctors…boy will they be surprised when they announce her as their new boss…Chief of Staff…wow, so cool…I think some of her old friends are here from Atlanta…she made a big deal about coming in late so they wouldn’t fuss over her…I guess she’s a little shy…they should fuss over her…she’s smarter than all of them.”

          “I didn’t realize panty hose and a bra would feel so crappy…and who ever invented high heels should be arrested…I look kinda grown up though…that’s cool…ninety dollars to do our hair…me and mom look beautiful.”

          “I wonder if my dad is here…she said he was a doctor…mm, look at him, he would make a nice dad…ugh, he’s too fat…he’s too short…too bald…too old…who need’s a dad anyway…I’m doing great without one.”

            “I wish I’d never found that letter…had to be from dad… ‘I’ll join in a few months…we’ll be together soon…can’t wait to see you,” …barf…that must have broken her heart…and signing it, “my all forever, Don.’ …he should have signed it, “nothing forever, the Jerk.” …if he is here I don’t know if I even want to meet him…okay, yes I do but it will be totally awkward.”

Part Three: Hannah, the Ex

          “Brianne, could you zip me up in back, please? Let’s get your makeup on. Ha, Brianne, you are one hot looking kiddo tonight, ya think? I wonder if there will be anyone good-looking boys there tonight, mmm?”

          “Mom, this is your night. I am just so proud of you.”

          “Thanks, dear, let’s head down and get a taxi.”

          “Okay, Hannah, you can do this…you deserve it, damnit…if I can run surgery in Atlanta I can sure do it here. (laughing) …I wonder how Don will react when he finds out Marsh is retiring and I will be Chief of Staff…I wonder what he looks like…I hope he still has his hair.”

          “Oh, this is a nice place…hope the food is good…I’m hungry…hope Brianne is feeling okay about maybe meeting Don…I tried to keep my comments civil…I think she looks a little like him.”

          “Let’s see, oh there he is…still has hair…and hasn’t changed much…maybe a little heavier…well, me too…so what…oh, here we go…they will brag about him for a while…mm, interesting…he’s done well for himself…no surprise…he is almost as smart as moi.”

          “Brianne, it’s time to go back stage. Come with me.”

          “Hannah, or sorry, Dr. Jackson, nice to see you again.  They’re almost done with speeches then, right before the award for Dr. Allen, they will announce you and give you a moment to speak to the group. We are so excited to have you with us.”

          “Thank you, Dr. Rashad. I am honored to be invited to serve as Chief.  Does Don know?”

          “No, he doesn’t. We know there is a history between you but didn’t want to add any potential drama to the event. I think he had his eyes on the Chief position.”

          “Thank you for that.  This is my daughter, Brianne.  Isn’t she beautiful?”

          “Very nice to meet you, Brianne. You must be very proud of your mother. Oh, it’s time.  Stay here until I announce you. Ready?”

          “Oh yes. I’ve been ready for thirteen years.”

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